There are many reasons to renew, once again and for the 8th consecutive year, our call for a cut in military spending (based upon SIPRI data), so that the world can move closer to a human security commitment that would better serve humanity. We face the danger of a third world war, and big countries are preparing for war with massive armament investments. It is really time for the people to stand up.
The Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) is an international campaign promoted by the International Peace Bureau. GCOMS includes the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), which in its 8th edition includes many different actions in more than 20 countries, as listed on the CGOMS webpage. We are pressing governments to invest money in the sectors of health, education, employment and climate change, rather than the military. As we cannot rely on governments and politicians, we are calling people to take the future in their own hands.
According to updated 2017 military spending data, published today by SIPRI, world military expenditure has increased in 2017 by 1.1% in real terms, and is now estimated at roughly $ 1739 billion. The top 10 spenders in 2017 according to SIPRI were the USA, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, UK, Japan, Germany and South Korea. This reflects a constant increase over the last five consecutive years. We must stop this, by growing a global movement against military spending!
War business is based on arms trade and on the pursuit of power, dominance, and masculinity structures that result in civilian deaths, also degrading conflicts, preying on the planet and actively contributing to climate change. Actions to promote global justice and to reduce climate change effects require a reduction on military spending and renovated efforts to use negotiation to solve conflicts. Producing and selling weapons is a very profitable business that kills people, while buying weapons removes money from human-centered goals. From a gender equality perspective, we must fight against war business and arms exports!
Economic and political powers are deeply associated and embedded in the military policies of national states. A small number of influential businessmen have extracted enormous and disproportioned wealth. Corporations have in many ways captured states, militarization being in the kernel of this new scenario. However, focus must be urgently moved from military and private interests to human needs. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be reached if we do not globally address the fundamental technology injustices that leave people behind. Climate change can only be addressed by reorienting global regulatory perspectives to ethical, human-centred objectives, moving away from security-based discourses. It is necessary and entirely possible to shrink our resource consumption while our increasing our commitments to funding what really matter: human happiness, wellbeing, education, health, and longevity. Military funds must be urgently redirected to human needs!
Funds that are now spent in the military are urgently needed to reduce inequalities, to increase worldwide cooperation, to remove energy injustices, to challenge the forces that are driving the massive crisis of refugees and displaced, to implement people-based global market regulations and to build a peaceful world.
Surprisingly, there is little debate regarding the adoption of security policies that demand increasing expenditures for military rearmament. We must invest more in more resources devoted to conflict prevention. Resources now devoted to the preparation and conduct of war are required for many new and urgent tasks and should be diverted to the new challenges. As a first step, we therefore call for a 10% reduction of military spending in all countries and alliances, including NATO, and for a redirection of these funds to human needs and sustainable goals.
More than ever, we welcome new partners to make the GDAMS Global Days of Action a great success!
Berlin, Barcelona, Geneva, Helsinki, Rome, Tokyo, Sydney, May 2nd 2018